{chatter}box

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We finish every show in the Chatterbox series with, as the title implies, a little chatting.  Seven Stars graciously provides a sampling of their sweetest treats for our young patrons, and between bites of chocolate chip and ginger, the dancers are treated to adorable, sometimes offbeat, yet always endearing remarks.

Things worked a bit differently after the show at PPAC, however, since the children were not actually able to approach the stage for a meet and greet.  Instead, our outreach coordinator fielded a few questions from the audience, the first being directed towards the witch with the very curious subject of exactly how she became so fierce.  David had not yet spoke two words into the microphone when an eruption of surprised gasps and giggles broke out amongst the rows of small spectators.  This was immediately echoed by the cast, who, in our newfound familiarity with the show, had not prepared for the shock that would ensue should the witch’s true gender be revealed.  David reclaimed the floor with the deepest tone in his spectrum, “You weren’t expecting this voice were you?”  Laughs and cheers boiled over one again.

Some of our interactions are a bit more heart-warming, like the 12-year-old who marched forth this weekend to tell me she had received my Nutcracker pointe shoes as a Christmas gift, and seeing this show was her one birthday request.  Completely tickled by the entire situation, I couldn’t help but share the fact that I, too, am a February girl.  Her whole face lit up, and I felt my insides go mushy.

From shy inquiries about set changes and costume pieces to animated recounting of friends and cousins and aunties and puppies who take ballet class, too!, the post-Chatterbox talks never cease to bring a smile to my face.  In fact, H and I noted a real soreness in our cheek-raising muscles when the weekend was through.  Our marley floor is also now 70% chocolate chips.  But are the laugh lines and chocolate-covered shoes worth it, you ask?  Absolutely.

hansel & gretel go downtown

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Early yesterday morning, just as the sun started to backlight the grey rain clouds overhung from last night’s shower, we made our way downcity to my favorite theatre.

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PPAC was filled to its maximum with excited children, field tripping to the ballet as part of Providence’s community arts outreach program.  What a wonderful way to debut our cast of Hansel & Gretel, on the biggest stage in the state before thousands of enthusiastic kids.  They make the most interesting spectators, don’t they?

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Maybe I’m projecting my time as a child of the theatre, but I feel so fueled by the spontaneity of a young audience.  A rogue chuckle here, a random gasp there, reactions unfiltered and not one emotion held back.  It’s so helpful to be reminded what it feels like to see the show with fresh eyes, after hours of rehearsing the same scenes again and again.  Even when a show feels stale (which trust me, this one definitely does not!) you can always count on a child audience to teach you something new about it, purely through their physical reception of the performance.

The gloomy weather in Providence this morning also lent itself quite well to the dark tone of this story.  Then again, I have been known to relate outside surroundings to inside feelings…

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Projections of my psyche aside, with well-timed applause, hooting and hollering aplenty, I’d say the show was an overall success.

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There are 3 more chances to catch us in Ilya Kozadayev’s brand new production of Hansel & Gretel, this time in our black box theatre on Hope Street.  Don’t miss it.

For tickets.

an update

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You may have noticed a lack of rehearsal-related posts lately.  Have you?

Maybe you’ve been feeling the absence of studio snapshots and soreness complaints and new warm-up excitement over on this little blog of mine.  Maybe you haven’t.  But just in case you’re curious, here’s a little update on ballet life lately…

That soreness you may or may not have been missing from this electronic journal?  Oh, it’s there.  Hansel & Gretel is well underway, and if you’ve never scurried across an entire stage on your knees, butt-scooted away from unidentified creatures for an entire scene or scrambled around like a terrified turkey to the sound of thunder crashing multiple times in one show, let me tell you- it hurts.  Dancing a playful, young, scared, brave, timid, triumphant little girl will do quite a number on your body (and mind), especially when you get to do it in the remarkably difficult style of Ilya Kozadayev.  His is such a musical, smooth, and balanced style of movement that feels so satisfying to perform- but not without a week or two of bruised armpits and skinned knees (sexy, isn’t it?).

Making my back ache and my brain work is Viktor Plotnikov’s new multimedia piece, a retelling of the Spanish play, The House of Bernarda Alba.  It’s a dark story, and though all of the “sisters” are supposed to be rather unattractive, I am known as the ugliest of them all.  There’s a hump on my back and a jealous fire in my heart, but dancing this familiar style with the added intrigue of a filming element (some portions of the ballet will feature acting scenes filmed in black and white and played on a moving screen over the stage) is a nice mix of comfort and change.  Not to say that Viktor’s work itself is in any way comfortable; Though the style feels more at home than most in my body after so many years, the break-dancing and shoulder-stands I’m doing feel no less arduous than they sound.

In stark contrast, Gino DiMarco’s Lady of the Camellias is bright and balletic and complete with parties for dancing and gossiping and all of those fun things you do in a french ballet.  I suppose it’s also riddled with illness and adultery and death…but let’s ignore that a moment, shall we?

Also making its way to and from the studio on the daily is my enormous informational history book!  Pictured above in all of its 800-page glory, this thing is pretty darn serious.  It’s chock-full of (extremely detailed) anecdotes about the founding of America, and after this course I’m expecting to be an expert on the subject.  My father will be proud.

And there you have it!  These days I’m doing lots of class en pointe, rehearsal on flat, homework and Whole Dancer worksheets.  So in case you were starting to think my life consisted entirely of hot chocolate, baby’s breath and snowday strolls…just an update.